SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Nicholas Jameus second period penalty shot goal proved to be the game-winner as the Blind River Beavers went on to double up the Soo Thunderbirds 4-2 in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter Friday night at John Rhodes Community Centre.
Skating in the season-opener for both clubs, an early five-on-three helped Sault Ste. Marie begin the scoring, as following some crisp puck-movement, Michael Chaffay banked an attempt off a Blind River defender and past Beavers’ netminder Wyatt Courchaine.
The guests came back to tie it at 11:25 with Teegan Dumont picking the corner with a nifty right point shot.
Finding their skating legs, Blind River took the lead off a faceoff win, as Samuel Davies fired one towards the goal from the left side that was neatly redirected in by Jared Dupuis, parked in the circle.
More from the Beavers saw Jameus taken down on a break and be awarded his penalty shot.
With that opportunity, Jameus skated in to his right, cut to the middle, then quickly back where he lifted a backhand over the outstretched pad of Soo starter Alex Bugeja.
Countering, the Thunderbirds answered in rapid succession as Connor Toms moved in from the left point and buried his first NOJHL tally to finish off the five-goal frame.
Heading to the middle stanza, Blind River went up by a pair thanks to a Lucas Adams effort at 8:08.
It went scoreless the rest of the way thanks to some quality goaltending from Courchaine and Bugeja.
Shots on net ended up 41-38 in favour of the Beavers with Courchaine getting the win while Bugeja suffered the defeat.
The two sides are scheduled to meet again Saturday in a 7 p.m. start at the Blind River Community Centre, with the broadcast being on HockeyTV.com.
Game Photos: Bob Davies